l-Galactose Metabolism in Bacteroides Vulgatus From the Human Gut Microbiota

Biochemistry. 2014 Jul 22;53(28):4661-70. doi: 10.1021/bi500656m. Epub 2014 Jul 7.


A previously unknown metabolic pathway for the utilization of l-galactose was discovered in a prevalent gut bacterium, Bacteroides vulgatus. The new pathway consists of three previously uncharacterized enzymes that were found to be responsible for the conversion of l-galactose to d-tagaturonate. Bvu0219 (l-galactose dehydrogenase) was determined to oxidize l-galactose to l-galactono-1,5-lactone with kcat and kcat/Km values of 21 s(-1) and 2.0 × 10(5) M(-1) s(-1), respectively. The kinetic product of Bvu0219 is rapidly converted nonenzymatically to the thermodynamically more stable l-galactono-1,4-lactone. Bvu0220 (l-galactono-1,5-lactonase) hydrolyzes both the kinetic and thermodynamic products of Bvu0219 to l-galactonate. However, l-galactono-1,5-lactone is estimated to be hydrolyzed 300-fold faster than its thermodynamically more stable counterpart, l-galactono-1,4-lactone. In the final step of this pathway, Bvu0222 (l-galactonate dehydrogenase) oxidizes l-galactonate to d-tagaturonate with kcat and kcat/Km values of 0.6 s(-1) and 1.7 × 10(4) M(-1) s(-1), respectively. In the reverse direction, d-tagaturonate is reduced to l-galactonate with values of kcat and kcat/Km of 90 s(-1) and 1.6 × 10(5) M(-1) s(-1), respectively. d-Tagaturonate is subsequently converted to d-glyceraldehyde and pyruvate through enzymes encoded within the degradation pathway for d-glucuronate and d-galacturonate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Proteins / genetics
  • Bacterial Proteins / metabolism
  • Bacteroides / genetics
  • Bacteroides / metabolism*
  • Galactose / genetics
  • Galactose / metabolism*
  • Galactose Dehydrogenases / genetics
  • Galactose Dehydrogenases / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Intestines / microbiology*
  • Microbiota*


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Galactose Dehydrogenases
  • galactose dehydrogenase
  • Galactose